Norway’s Opposition Gets Second PM Candidate Ahead of Election

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Norway’s opposition Center Party named its leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum as a prime ministerial candidate for the upcoming elections, a change from long-standing practice of backing the candidate of its political ally, the Labour Party.

The candidacy of Vedum, Center’s leader since 2014, was announced at the party’s national convention on Saturday. Center, which draws support mostly from rural areas, pledges lower taxes and a reversal of centralization, according to a statement on its website. A Center-Labour government “is the best platform” for a government that would benefit the whole country, it said.

Norway’s Opposition Gets Second PM Candidate Ahead of Election

Center’s move adds uncertainty ahead of the Sept. 13 vote; the party has traditionally backed the candidates of Labour, which has enjoyed bigger political support, for prime minister.

Labour leader Jonas Gahr Store was cited by public broadcaster NRK as saying that the move by Center “wasn’t sensational” and didn’t suggest a bigger rivalry inside the opposition.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg faces an uphill battle to extend her eight years in office. Labour is running at 24.5% support versus 21.2% for Solberg’s Conservative Party, according to a Norstat poll conducted May 25-31. Center’s backing was at 17%.

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